Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Tower Of Independence

Sunday I preached on Independence. It was July 4th, the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain and the tyranny of King George III.

This Dude!

The Declaration of Independence was signed by our forefathers on this date in 1776, and, politically speaking, we became free men. This 234 year old experiment in government has been quite successful as we have survived an invasion in 1812, civil war in 1865 (or as it is known around these parts: "The War Of Northern Aggression") two world wars, and countless skirmishes and assaults. We have had, best as History 101 allows, two presidents impeached, and none removed from office, politically or militarily. Our government has never been usurped, there has never been a coup, and no president has been dragged from the White House by his socks after losing an election.

So we are independent...politically. But are we truly free? The answer is no. We have never really been independent, because we have always, humanity, not just Americans, been dependent upon God. This is so clearly seen in my text, Genesis 11.

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Notice that the whole earth comes together and starts to build a city. This is in direct defiance of what God had instructed them after the flood, where He said “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." Instead, they decided they would settle down in one place and set up a religion that did not need God. Make no mistake about that last part. Nimrod and company were declaring their independence. Forget all the Sunday School coloring sheets you had as a kid. This "tower" did not reach into the clouds, nor was it intended to. In actuality it was a ziggurat, basically a stepped pyramid. It would have been very similar to what the Mayans built in South America. The idea was not to literally reach into the sky, but figuratively reach into heaven, the dwelling place of God. It was an attempt to usurp His throne. This was a rebellion, a revolution against the God of this universe by wee little men. Religion was at the heart of Babylon's beginning, just as it will be at Babylon's end.

The Tower of Babel

But do notice verse 5. The Lord came down. It does not matter how high we lift our collective self-esteems, it does not matter how high we raise our academic prowess, nor our technological idols, nor our humanistic self-worship, God still has to "come down," He still must condescend Himself to reach our level. We may think that we can declare our independence from Him, but we simply fool ourselves. However; it is of note what God said in verse 6. God confused their language so that they would not succeed in their diabolical plans. So He scattered us because of a lack of communication. And so we stay to this day. Men not communicating with women, Christians not communicating with Hindus, Jews and Muslims not talking, blacks and whites not listening, Yankees and Rebels...well you get the point. We have not and most likely will not get together to solve our biggest problems. As stated earlier, I am podcasting. You would be surprised how hard it is for our church's CD recorder to communicate with my podcasting host. More commutative miscues, MP3 vs WMA! But we have been dependant on Him, which is not a bad thing at all. So, as we remember our political independence, let us not forget to declare our dependence upon our God and Savior.